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Published on : Wednesday, June 3, 2015
The Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) today welcomed partnerships with the UK’s largest charitable foundation and four major global companies—collaborations that will expand continued funding for research and development (R&D) of new tools to tackle infectious diseases that devastate the world’s poorest people.
Included in the collaboration are two new funding partners, the Wellcome Trust and Sysmex Corporation, which will join existing funders that include six Japanese pharmaceutical companies, the Japanese Government and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Also included are three corporate partnerships with Japan’s biggest airline ANA, law firm Morrison & Foerster LLP, and Yahoo! Japan, which will serve as sponsors of GHIT and its work.
“In just two years of existence, the GHIT Fund is proving to be a model of effective collaborative funding when it comes to finding new drugs, vaccines and diagnostic tests for infectious diseases of the poor,” said GHIT Fund CEO Dr. BT Slingsby. “We are grateful for the vote of confidence in the GHIT Fund and its mission that is signaled by the new partners who are joining us today.”
The GHIT Fund has invested approximately ¥4.3 billion in 39 portfolio investments within the last two years in promising R&D projects, making it a significant market force in a chronically underfunded field, said Slingsby. GHIT has leveraged this ¥4.3 billion with ¥2.9 billion in co-investments culminating in a total leveraged portfolio of ¥7.2 billion. GHIT’s newest action is expanding its technology scope to include diagnostic tests and its disease portfolio to include leishmaniasis.
Diseases against which GHIT Fund is supporting development of new tools are malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases. For example, GHIT has a robust anti-malaria portfolio with over 14 investments in both new drugs and vaccines of over ¥1.2 billion in value. For schistosomiasis, the second most important parasitic infection after malaria in terms of public health and economic impact, the GHIT pipeline is one of the most robust in the world with a new pediatric drug formulation and a diagnostic test.
Global Charitable Foundation Joins GHIT Fund as Funding Partner
GHIT Fund announced today that the UK-based Wellcome Trust, the largest charitable foundation in the UK and a global leader in the funding of innovative biomedical research, will become a key GHIT Fund partner with a grant of ¥554,234,700 through January 2017.
Beyond funding, the Wellcome Trust’s long history of expertise in the global health arena, including championing R&D for infectious diseases, will significantly bolster GHIT. In a similar structure as to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which currently funds GHIT, the Wellcome Trust will join the GHIT Selection Committee with an additional member and also the GHIT Board of Directors with an ex-officio observer.
“The Ebola crisis served as a stark reminder of the devastating potential of infectious diseases. But when that epidemic finally subsides there remains countless other infections threatening the health of the world’s poorest populations. By partnering with GHIT, the Wellcome Trust hopes to bring the very best of Japanese science to bear in tackling this critical unmet need,” Dr. Richard Seabrook, Head of Business Development at the Wellcome Trust.
In a First for GHIT Fund, Diagnostics Company to be a Funding Partner
GHIT Fund also announced that the Kobe, Japan-based Sysmex Corporation, a global leader of in vitro diagnostic laboratory systems will become a key GHIT Fund partner, alongside six existing Japanese pharmaceutical companies, with a donation over the next three years.
Among the resources provided by Sysmex is in vitro diagnostics expertise. As the first diagnostic company to join GHIT, the Sysmex partnership marks the welcome participation of a wider range of corporations in global health R&D.
“To support the mission of the GHIT Fund—accelerating the development of drugs and vaccines to fight diseases that sicken and kill the poorest people in the world—Sysmex decided to take part as a new sponsor. We proactively work on development of testing technologies and product development to contribute to the diagnosis of infectious diseases in developing countries. Through the support for the GHIT Fund, we look forward to helping strengthen the R&D effort against infectious diseases prevalent in developing countries,” said Sysmex Chairman and CEO Mr. Hisashi Ietsugu.
GHIT also welcomed partnerships with these leading organizations:
The GHIT sponsorships with ANA, Morrison & Foerster, and Yahoo! Japan will effectively allow GHIT to increase its cost-structure efficiency for managing investments. “GHIT is cementing partnerships with global and domestic organizations at a dramatic pace. The participation of top-notch companies in Japan and other countries validates the GHIT Fund as Japan’s flagship initiative, one that is truly innovative and novel,” said GHIT’s Slingsby.